I get a message from Facebook: the 13th November is Alyaa Kamel’s birthday. Another message tells me it is the first day of her new exhibition. Galerie Cimaise has risen to the challenge of showing her “Expressions and Emotions.” Go to this exhibition. Do not expect to see representations of people’s expressions and emotions. You will find Alyaa Kamel’s people but the expressions and emotions are all hers. This is, after all, #alyaakamel: emoting on-line and “out there.”
A large canvas reveals her fascination for tagging. It is a crush of hopeless, expressionless people: her main theme. I remain convinced that her inspiration is driven by the all-too-frequent images from daily news: thousands of poor middle-eastern souls in crisis. I try to nail down her thoughts. She cleverly responds in a meaningful abstractness. With a gush of words, she throws ideas at me such as humanity, inheritance, memories and genes. I push…. “We all have our secrets, Robin!”
Another large canvas moves the theme to the individual. The face is grotesque and haunting. One eye is closed. The nose is broken. The lips are mashed. In describing what was in her mind when covering it with glue and kitchen film she loses me. I see only an attempt to obliterate one of those poor middle-eastern souls in crisis; only this time the crisis has been meted out at a personal level. By my interpretation, this is the battered and bruised face of the final interrogation.
This exhibition carries 36 pieces. Alyaa’s expressions and emotions may be elusive but she has a lot to say and she says it better with her drawings and paintings than with her words. The ensemble of the person and her work is contemporary, enigmatic and intriguing. A visit to Galerie Cimaise will not disappoint.